A day in the life of Michael Campbell

Featured

Michael works as a psychiatric technician caring for those at Southwest Idaho Treatment Center

IMG_9495

Michael Campbell records medication as he hands it out to the residents of Southwest Idaho Treatment Center early one morning this summer.

When you meet Michael Campbell, your first impression might be of an avid outdoorsman, his skin tanned from hiking in the hot Idaho sun. His jeans and blue T-shirt (with a frog on it) would make you think he is more worried about comfort than fashion. His warm smile and easy-going manner will give you the feeling that he’s living an easy, comfortable life.

His actual daily routine is demanding, exhausting, and sometimes heartbreaking. It would be overwhelming to most of us.

IMG_9519

Chalk drawings decorate the patio of one of the residential units at SWITC.

Michael got his tan by spending many hours in the hot sun drawing chalk pictures on the sidewalk with the people he calls his family. The frog on his T-shirt is intentional and helps to draw the attention of residents at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC) as he hands out medications. “What’s this on my shirt? You think it’s a frog? You’re a smart guy. I’m so proud of you,” he says to a resident. His smile is because he loves what he does. His easy-going manner is what keeps him a favorite among staff and residents.

Michael has spent close to 40,000 hours or 19 years “on the floor” as he calls it. His job is tough, and it’s not for everyone. But his job as a psychiatric technician, or psych tech, is his passion. He spends his days making sure the current SWITC residents have a home away from home. He wants them to feel protected, loved, and honored. The residents may be autistic or have other developmental disabilities. They may sometimes harm themselves or others. Some are unable to communicate. Some need one-to-one care all day, every day. Michael simply wants to help them live their best life as they continue their journey to self-sufficiency.

The primary responsibility of a psych tech is to implement the person-centered plan for each resident. This plan includes skills training, medication administration, and behavioral training support. At SWITC, there are currently 45 psych tech positions. The psych techs do not have standard shifts, but they do have their own shift usually working 8 to 10 hours. Jamie Newton, SWITC administrator, said they discovered that not having groups of employees come in or leave at the same time lessened anxiety among the residents. Continue reading

Advertisements

SWITC complaint is unsubstantiated, survey says

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is pleased to announce that a complaint investigation at Southwest Idaho Treatment Center has been completed, and the conclusion of the third-party survey team is that the complaint is unsubstantiated.

“I am so pleased to see our efforts recognized in the outcome of this survey,” said SWITC Administrator Jamie Newton. “We have been working diligently to update policies, procedures, and practice to address the issues we discovered in the summer of 2017. This is good news.” Continue reading

DHW Director: DisAbility Rights Idaho report is inaccurate and incomplete

A troubling report released today by DisAbility Rights Idaho presents an inaccurate and incomplete picture of our operations at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC) in Nampa.

The report makes some serious allegations about our staff and our ability to provide a safe home for the residents of SWITC. None of the issues raised in the report are new or recent. In fact, all of the issues have been and continue to be addressed. While we appreciate and respect the work done by DisAbility Rights Idaho, we have serious issues with a report that contains numerous factual inaccuracies. Information gained during our own investigations and licensure surveys has led to increased emphasis on ensuring the safety of our residents and our employees. We have done our best to be transparent. But we are also bound by privacy and confidentiality laws that limit what we can say. We are not able to provide the additional context necessary to tell the entire story.

Contrary to what the report says, we first notified media and the public in August 2017 when we identified inappropriate and abusive employee behavior that was not meeting our standards. We launched an extensive internal investigation into the allegations. As a result, six employees were terminated. However, the Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges based on the Nampa Police Department investigation.

A licensure survey last summer and follow-up surveys resulted in several findings that we are continuing to address. SWITC has implemented plans of correction that also must be approved and checked as part of the licensure surveys.

SWITC annual licensure survey ended this past week.  It was a full survey that looked at SWITC’s compliance with more than 470 federal regulations. The surveyors also conducted a complaint investigation, addressing some of the same allegations DRI makes in its report. The survey team reviewed many of the abuse investigation reports from 2017 and 2018 and interviewed clients, staff, parents, guardians, and agencies, including Adult Protection Services.  Continue reading

Tearjerker Alert: Idaho kids tell their stories about being raised by relatives

2018cover“I have always called my grandpa Dad because he has always raised and treated me the way a father should.” – Greyson, age 8.

“I’ve lived with my grandparents since 7 years old and I can’t describe how much they’ve changed my life. Without their support, love and kindness, I wouldn’t be doing half of what I do.” – Madysen, age 15.

“Ever since my mom passed away my family started falling apart and it didn’t feel like the same no more. I’m glad I got to live with my sister because she is always there for me no matter what.” – Lidia, age 13.

“My new family has five brothers and sisters and two parents, who are my aunt and uncle, but I call them Mom and Dad.” – Emily, age 6.

Read the rest of their stories and see artwork from other Idaho children who were recognized in the Idaho KinCare Project 2018 My Family. My Story. contest hereContinue reading

Attend the Kincare Speaking Tour May 22-24: Help for Idaho’s 28,000 “grandfamilies”

KincareTourAcross the United States, almost 7.8 million children are living in homes where grandparents or other relatives are the householders, with more than 5.8 million children living in grandparents’ homes and nearly 2 million children living in other relatives’ homes. These families are often called “grandfamilies.”

Here in Idaho, the numbers of “grandfamilies” is just as sobering:   Continue reading

It’s the Week of the Young Child! We’re celebrating early learning, young children, teachers and Idaho families!

WOYC

Contributed by: Ashtin Glōdt, Program Specialist, Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). From April 16 to 21, Idahoans will be celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and families.

Locally, the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC) leads the celebration efforts with community events across the state. This year the Idaho AEYC will be holding a FREE family-friendly outdoor celebration at the Boise Botanical Gardens on Saturday, April 21st. Visit idahoaeyc.org for more information about community events and how to get involved in the Idaho AEYC. Continue reading

Thanksgiving is also National Family Health History Day – Do you know the medical history of your relatives?

family-photo-827763_640When the U.S. Surgeon General declared in 2004 that National Family Health History Day would fall on Thanksgiving each year, he was acknowledging the importance of knowing your family health history. You and your family share genes, culture, behaviors, and environments – all of which can have an impact on your health. When you know that information and share it with your doctor, he or she can make more informed choices for how to personalize your health screenings and treatment. Thanksgiving can be a great time to talk with your family about how your health is related, so you can give your doctor the best information possible. Continue reading